Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers believes it was the Stormers' improved conditioning that enabled them to secure a memorable win over the Chiefs last Saturday.
Last year, the Stormers suffered a heavy 60-21 loss to the Chiefs in the quarter-finals, but in this season's repeat fixture, they produced a highly impressive 80-minute performance to emerge as 34-26 victors.
In his column for KweséSports.com, De Villiers praised the improvements the Stormers had made, but still questioned whether SA rugby's conditioning strategies were specific for the modern game or remained a general model.
'From the sidelines, it seems like our natural talent and potential are carrying us, while we don’t get close to unearthing our players’ true potential. Jan Serfontein is a great example of how his skill and and ability have been disregarded to make him a big, physical player.
'We as a country have the strongest natural development systems, and it’s unthinkable that we should struggle at franchise and at national level. In the Craven Week, we have the oldest and best trial system where we see the future international players. Other countries have to create academies to nurture their talent and potential. We do not need it in this country, but what we do need is systems to enhance the positional requirements to become untouchable.
'I believe the myth that we have to bulk up and become almost twice our normal size is so overrated, because it has become shackles on our own feet and it’s holding us back.
'The one-season wonders that come and go is because we coach the individual brilliance out of them. Coaches are there to fulfil a player’s dreams and potential, not their own.
'Our coaches have become more like music students who became the best guitar player from a sheet. They play in the best town halls, but when we need them to play at a braai they cannot because they do not have a sheet to play from.
'We need to get our players in the best possible shape to suit them and not try and bulk them up to suit an outdated game plan. The Stormers showed what can be done with proper conditioning that is tailor-made for individual players. They have big boys and they have not so big boys, and all of them put in 80-minute performances with skill and intensity.'
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